Tools Knowledge Base

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to register to use the Knowledge Base?

No, you don't need to register to use the Knowledge Base. You can use the search engine and many of the reports for tools and blogs.

Why should I register?

When you register, you create an account and can edit your profile. There are a few personal details we collect, but the value of having an account is that you can access some useful features of the Knowledge Base and customise some of them.

  • Firstly, you can identify those tools that you use or have experience of. By doing this, you can choose to receive news bulletins when those tools are changed. You also get a panel on your home page listing links to the home page of each of your tools. You can embed this list in your own web site (see below).
  • If you discover that a tool you know of (or use or have written) is not in the system, you can suggest that this tool be added to the database.
  • In the same way, you can suggest a blog site to be indexed and made searchable - including your own - as long as it relates to the areas in our current scope.
  • You can claim ownership of tools that belong to you (subject to certain criteria.)
  • If you are a tool vendor or developer, you can create a company record and associate your tools with the company.
  • You can embed reports from the Knowledge Base in your own website. For example, your list of tools and links to them can be embedded. Your users do not need to be registered with the Knowledge Base or logged into see these pages. There's an example here:
  • You will shortly be able to customise the notifications that you receive.
  • As we develop more features, we will add to this list.

So as you can see, there are some significant benefits to being registered.

How do I register?

Registration is a simple, one-time process. You can register here.

What information is searchable?

Currently, both tools and blogs are searchable.

Every tool registered in the system has an associated webpage which is downloaded and indexed every evening. The text content of these pages provides most of the content. However other fields in the tools record are also indexed. these are the tool name itself, the description field and the alternative name. In this way, we hope to provide a comprehensive source of searchable content. When searched, the matches provide links to the tools record in the database.

Each blog feed (just under 300 at the moment), is downloaded and new blog posts are indexed in a similar way to the tools record. We don't capture the blog posts in our database, rather, when searched, the matches provide links to the actual blog post.

We expect that other content will be added to the search index in time.

What do the categories, blogs, and tags links do?

The blog feeds registered in the system can be viewed in three different ways.

The Categories link refers to the categorisation of the blog feeds. Every blog feed in the system is assigned to one or more categories when we set it up. Most blog feeds focus on a single topic area. Some blogs span more than one category. Clicking on the categories link lists the categories available. From there you can click on any category to see the blog feeds that are relevant.

The bloggers link provides a list of all bloggers/feeds registered in the system. These are listed by the date of their most recent blog post. Following the links will take you to the blogger's homepage.

The tags link lists the tag phrases that people have assigned to their own blog posts. There are a large number of tags so you can sub-select tags by their first letter. When you click a tag link, you will see a list of blog posts with that tag. The links take you to the original blog post. Note that some bloggers don't use tags (or use them all the time), so some posts are not accessible via the tag listings.

The blogs link appears at the top of the blog panel when you choose one of the three options above. This reports the latest blogs across all categories in order of date/time posted - the most recent blogs appear first. This is the default listing on the home page.

What are 'Resources'?

Resources refer to content that users can create or upload to the system. Resources represent useful content associated with a tool. This content might be an uploaded document, image, script or help text. You don't have to upload the content - if the content already exists on the web, you can just provide a title and URL to that content.

What tools are in scope?

Our primary focus is to capture tools that support the activities of practitioners in software teams (developers, testers, BAs etc.) that make use of automation in, for example, DevOps environments or where development, test, delivery and release processes are automated.

Our secondary aim is to capture tools that play what you might call 'supporting roles'. Tools such as Scrum Management, Story or requirements management, collaboration and communication tools and infrastructure products such as operating systems, web servers and other services.

So in fact, our scope is very wide. If you use it in your day-to-day activities, we think you should add it to the database

I can't find a tool that I use - can I create it?

The goal of the Tools Knowledge Base is to provide a comprehensive directory of tools. We do our own research and add tools that become available quite regularly. But we know that we can't keep pace with every development in the tools domain so we rely on you, the users of tools, to add new entries. When you search for a tool by name, and can't find it, there is a link at the bottom of the search results page which allows you to suggest a new tool.

I am the author of a tool, can I create a new tools record for it?

Of course. That is what we want people to do. If your tool is not already in the database, we encourage you to add it. Of course, you need to be a registered user to do this. Note that if the tool already exists in the database, you should be able to search for and find it. In this case, we ask you to claim ownership of the tool using the link that appears at the bottom of the tool's page.

Please check that your tool is not already listed before creating a new tool record.

I am tool vendor, can I create a new tools record?

Of course. That is what we want people to do. If your tool is not already in the database, we encourage you to add it. Of course, you need to be a registered user to do this. Note that if the tool already exists in the database, you should be able to search for and find it. In this case, we ask you to claim ownership of the tool using the link that appears at the bottom of the tool's page.

We suggest you create a company record if you don't already have one. You can then associate your company with the tool.

Please check that your tool is not already listed before creating a new tool record.

How do you manage tools that have a range of features?

We’re offering an alternative to the ‘tool types’ listings that are so common (and misleading) on the internet. We provide features for each ‘type’ of tool and manage the challenge of classifying tools that have multiple types or are integrated tool sets. Some features are tagged as tool types and others are not. So ‘Mobile test execution’ is a feature and tool type. ‘Runs on windows’ is a feature but not a tool type.

Much work will be required to get the feature hierarchy up to date. For example, UFT (QTP) and Silk Test are listed under Test Execution -> Web and HTTP Testing Tools. But they are also listed under GUI test tools. Some tools test multiple platforms including mobile and other UIs. So the notion of a web or mobile or heads-up-display test tool isn’t so helpful as a classification. We’re working through the various tool 'types' in order to categorise them properly. This is an ongoing process.

What are discussions?

Every tool has an associated discussion thread associated with it. We encourage you to post your questions relating to any tool to the discussion thread for the tool you are interested in. The owner and users of the tool will receive a notification of the question. You need to be a registered user and logged in to post new questions or answers.

Both questions and suggested answers can be 'scored' by clicking on the up arrow (like) or down arrow (I dislike). The numbers next to the questions an answers provide a score and the number of votes. A positive score means there are more likes than dislikes.

Both questions and answers can be commented on. Comments provide additional clarifications or questions to the person who posted the question or the answer. You need to be logged in to do this.

How do you distinguish between proprietary and FLOSS tools?

Re: proprietary and FLOSS tools – we handle by having a separate feature called licencing model. We know we have work to do to distinguish the two types.